When surgery is necessary to repair a hiatal hernia, a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure is often performed to reduce the hernia and put the stomach back where it belongs, notes WebMD. Laparoscopic surgery has advantages, such as smaller incisions, a decreased risk of infection and a faster recovery.
During laparoscopic hiatal hernia surgery, a surgeon makes several very small incisions in the abdomen. The laparoscope, the tool that allows the surgeon to look around inside the patient's abdomen, is carefully passed through one of the incisions. The laparoscope acts as a camera that transmits images of the hernia to a monitor. Using the images as a guide, the surgeon inserts surgical instruments through the incisions in the abdomen and seals the stomach back inside its original place, explains WebMD. However, there is no guarantee the hernia will not return.
Most of the time, patients are able to walk just one day after the procedure, and there are usually no dietary restrictions, according to WebMD. Most patients resume their normal activities within one week of surgery. However, complete recovery takes up to three weeks, and patients should wait at least three months before doing any strenuous tasks such as heavy lifting.